While gearing up for king mackerel fishing in the next few weeks, don’t forget about the sizzling wahoo bite that’s out there as well. Often called the ‘meanest fish in the sea’ wahoo offer great sport and great eating.
King mackerel get all the glory in the fall along the Carolina border, as anglers line up for tournaments that showcase the South’s premier saltwater sportfish. But offshore anglers should not forget that there is another member of the mackerel family out there which can get bigger and go faster than the mightiest king mackerel.
The day before they won last weekend’s 2011 Fall Brawl king mackerel tournament out of the Ocean Isle Fishing Center, Captain Keith Logan of Feeding Frenzy Charters along with Ryan Bright of Dallas, TX and Scott Smith of Charlotte headed out to the Gulf Stream looking to first hook up with the king’s rowdy cousin, the mighty wahoo.
“We left Cricket Cove Marina in Little River, SC at 5:30 am Saturday and headed to the bluewater,” said Captain Logan. “The seas were 2 to 3 feet about 4 seconds apart on the way out. We arrived at the 100/400 around 7:45 am. The water was ‘King Green’ and 72 degrees, so we put lines out and worked offshore to 285 feet of water. Then we found 74 degree water and had a hit on a Blue Water Candy 1 oz. Bling Skirt with a blue and white head and Cotton Candy skirt with a med ballyhoo on the planer line.”
The fish on was a 30-pound wahoo which was boated by Ryan.
Wahoo can be found from Virginia to South America, in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean as well as many other areas around the world. They are a hard-charging, hard-fighting fish with an elite reputation. Wahoo are a hot water fish preferring water temperatures between 78 and 85 degrees.
“We still could not find 78 degree water,” said Captain Logan, “so we picked up lines and moved to the Black Jack Area where we found 76 degree water. We put lines back out and trolled offshore looking for warmer water. We got a hit in 303 feet of water on a Blue Water Candy 1 oz. Bling Skirt with a blue and white head and Cotton Candy skirt with a med ballyhoo on the planer line.”
That fish turned out to be a 50-pound Wahoo and was decked by Scott.
The trio, known as Team Instigator, fished until noon and then headed home with two nice wahoo. They then proceeded to win the OIFC Fall Brawl king mackerel tourney the next day by catching a 35.50-pound king in 102 feet of water. That fish was hooked on a Pink 1 oz. Pirate Plug baited with a dead cigar minnow.
But it’s interesting to note that the Fall Brawl king mackerel champs got their wahoo fishing in first.
Wahoo stack up highly against king mackerel when it comes to taste as well. Wahoo have snow white meat that lacks the heavy bloodlines most mackerels possess. They are a firm fish in texture and mild in taste, tasty even after freezing.
So in your rush to get on the hot king mackerel action, don’t forget that the wahoo are out there as well, and if you want to go after ‘the meanest fish in the sea’ now is the time.
Jeffrey Weeks is a NC fishing columnist and the author of the book Surf and Saltwater Fishing in the Carolinias